Special to The New York Times
WASHINGTON, April 15---President Taft did not know of the sinking of the Titanic or of the danger of his old friend, Major Archibald Butt, when he went to spend the evening at Poll's Theatre, formerly Chase's vaudeville, where "Nobody's Widow" was the play.
The President had read the erroneous accounts of the Titanic's accident that appeared in the afternoon papers and thought all on board had been saved and the ship would be taken safely into Halifax. He was nearly frantic when he learned the truth about 11 o'clock, and went at once to the telegraph room at the White House to read the Associated Press bulletins and the bulletins from THE NEW YORK TIMES Washington office. Mr. Taft told the operator to use every effort to get him the news and let him know anything during the night when any was received.
Word was also sent to the telephone operators at the War and Navy Department to forward to the President any information they might get from the wlreless stations about the Titanic. President Taft for the past three years has regarded Major Butt as his inseparable companion and friend. His fidelity, practical sense, and jovial nature made him exactly the sort of a comrade a man worried wfth innumerable heavy burdens would desire to have. The President as he appeared at the White House offices to-night was deeply moved. When he knew all that the newspaper dispatches told he turned like a man that had been stunned with a heavy blow and went slowly back to the Executive mansion.
The following telegram from President Taft was received in the offices of the White Star Line shortly after midnight:
Have you any information concerning Major Butt? If you communicate at once I will greatly appreciate.
WILLIAM HOWARD TAFT.
The following reply was sent:
Sorry to say we have no definite information. Soon as receive it will notify you.
P. A. S. FRANKLIN.
President Taft's inquiry was one among hundreds from all over the country received at the White Star offices.
Related BiographiesArchibald Willingham Butt
P. A. S. Franklin